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Barack Hussein Obama II
Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr.
Electoral Votes: 365
John Sidney McCain III
Sarah Louise Heath Palin
Electoral Votes: 173
Independent, Libertarian, Constitution...
Electoral College Vote
Total electoral votes (from 50 states and DC) - 538
Majority needed to win - 270
|Alabama –||Alaska –||Arizona –||Arkansas –||California –|
|Colorado –||Connecticut –||Delaware –||DC –||Florida –|
|Georgia –||Hawaii –||Idaho –||Illinois –||Indiana –|
|Iowa –||Kansas –||Kentucky –||Louisiana –||Maine –|
|Maryland –||Massachusetts –||Michigan –||Minnesota –||Mississippi –|
|Missouri –||Montana –||Nebraska –||Nevada –||New Hampshire –|
|New Jersey –||New Mexico –||New York –||North Carolina –||North Dakota –|
|Ohio –||Oklahoma –||Oregon –||Pennsylvania –||Rhode Island –|
|South Carolina –||South Dakota –||Tennessee –||Texas –||Utah –|
|Vermont –||Virginia –||Washington –||West Virginia –||Wisconsin –|
|Wyoming –||Randomize Map||Map||Clear Map|
Les Barnett, Will Sellers, Ralph (Al) Blythe, W. Jack Stiefel, J. Elbert Peters, Matthew Fridy, Robert (Bob) A. Cusanelli, Cam Ward, James (Jim) Eldon Wilson
Roy Burkhart, Hope Nelson, Robert Brodie
Bruce Ash, Kurt Davis, Wes Gullett, Sharon Harper, Jack Londen, Beverly Lockett Miller, Lee Miller, Bettina Nava, Randy Pullen, Michael Rappoport
Jim Burnett, Reta Hamilton, Rose Bryant Jones, Phyllis Kincannon, Steve Lux, Kermit Parks
Ian Robert Blue, Mark H Cibula, Richard Allen Hundrieser, Lawrence Steven Du Bois, Mark Friedman, Mary W Hubert, Fred D Jackson, LeRoy King, Roberta C Brooks, Audrey Gordon, Michael McNerney, Nancy Jean Parrish, James Paul Farley, John Freidenrich, Jeremy Seiji Nishihara, Jaime A Alvarado, Vinz J Koller, Gregory Ray Olzack, David A. Sanchez, Larry Sheingold, Stephen Allen Smith, Mark A Macarro, Nathan Eric Brostrom, Robert 'Bob' M Handy, Robert D. Conaway, Greg Warner, Lane Sherman, Ilene Haber, Kenneth Sulzer, Sanford Weiner, Ana Delgado Mascarenas, Joe Perez, Gwen Moore, Anthony Rendon, Karen D. Waters, Kelley Schnaitter Willis, Silissa Uriarte-Smith, Norma Judith Torres, Alma Marquez, Ray L Cordova, Patrick Kelly Kahler, Aaruni Kumar Thakur, Joe Baca Jr., Juadina Stallings, Betty McMillion, William F. Gusta Ayer, Gregory Howes Willenborg, James L. Yedor, Bobby Gene Glaser, Mary Elizabeth Keadle, Frank G. Salazar, Christine Raye Young, Sid Voorakkara, Aleita Huguenin, Lou Paulson
Wellington Webb, Terry Phillips, Camilla Auger, Pam Shaddock, Jennifer Trujillo-Sanchez, Don Strickland, Ann Knollman, Polly Baca, Margaret Atencio
Shirley W. Steinmetz, Nicholas Paindiris, Andrea Jackson Brooks, Jim Ezzes, Lorraine McQueen, Deborah McFadden, Ken Delacruz
James Johnson, Edward Kaufman, Harriet Smith Windsor
|DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA||3||245,800|
Muriel Bowser, Jerry S. Cooper, Vincent C. Gray
Wills Chip Arndt, Jr., T. Wayne Bailey, Fred Balsera, Terrie Bradv, Karl Flagg, Joe Gibbons, Janet Goen, James Golden, Chris Hand, Marlon Hill, Tony Hill, Joan Joseph, Allan Katz, Gena Keebler, Joan Lane, Caren Lobo, Rick Minor, Jared Moskowitz, Angela Rodante, Frank Sanchez, Juanita Scott, Geraldine Thompson, Karen Thurman, Carmen Torres, Kirk Wagarof Miami, FL, at-large elector , Enoch Williams, Frederica Wilson
Esther Clark, Dennis Coxwell, Norma Edenfield, Randy Evans, Sue P. Everhart, Leigh Ann Gillis, Judy Goddard, Linda Herren, Rufus Montgomery, Clint Murphy, Sunny Park, Alec Poitevint, John Sours, Allan Vigil, John White
Joy Kobashigawa Lewis, Marie Dolores Strazar, Amefil Agbayani, Frances K. Kagawa
Darlene Bramon, Ben Doty, John Erickson, Melinda Smyser
Constance A. Howard, Carrie Austin, Andrew Madigan,, Ricardo MuÐoz, James DeLeo, Marge Friedman, Vera Davis, Nancy Shepardson, William Marovitz, Lauren Beth Gash, Debbie Halvorson, Molly McKenzie, Julia Kennedy Beckman, Mark Guethle, Lynn Foster, John M. Nelson, Mary Boland, Shirley McCombs, Don Johnston, Barbara Flynn Currie, John R. Daley
Jeffrey L. Chidester, Owen 'Butch' Morgan, Michelle Boxell, Charlotte Martin, Jerry J. Lux, Connie Southworth, Alan P. Hogan, Myrna E. Brown, Clarence Benjamin Leatherbury, Daniel J. Parker, Cordelia Lewis Burks
Elwood Thompson, Slayton Thompson, Kathleen O'Leary, Jon Heitland, Dennis Ryan, Joe Judge, Audrey Linville
Tom Arpke, Jeff Colyer, David Kensinger, Kris Kobach, Mike Pompeo, Helen Van Etten
James Henry Snider, Walter A. Baker, Edna M. Fulkerson, Amy B. Towles, Nancy Mitchell, Don Ball, Robert Gable, Elizabeth G. Thomas
Lynn E. Skidmore, Joe Lavigne, Gordon J. Giles, Alan Seabaugh, Karen Haymon, Charles Davis, Charlie Buckels, Dianne Christopher, Roger F. Villere, Jr.
|MAINE FIRST DISTRICT||1||232,145|
|MAINE SECOND DISTRICT||1||189,778|
Robert O'Brien, Tracie Reed
Gene Ransom, Delores Kelley, Guy Guzzone, Nathaniel Exum, Christopher Reynolds, A.G. Bobby Fouche, Elizabeth Bobo, Michael Barnes, Susan Lee, Rainier Harvey
Samuel Poulten, Melvin Poindexter, Jason Whittet, Joseph H. Kaplan, John P. Brissette, Raymond A. Jordan, Patricia Marcus, Brenda Brathwaite, Carol Pacheco, Mary Anne Dube, Faye Morrison, Corinne Wingard
Brenda Abbey, Dallas Dean, Ida DeHaas, Ron Gettelfinger, James Hoffa, Kenneth Paul Jenkins, Harry Kalogerakos, Jessica Mistak, Arturo Reyes, Griffin Rivers, Gary Shepherd, Roger Short, Arthur Shy, Richard West, Whitney Randall Wolcott, David Woodward, Charlene Yarbrough
Arthur A. Anderson, Jim Gremmels, David W. Lee, Al Patton, Joan M. Wittman, William J. Davis, Benjamin F. Gross, Matt Little, Jackie Stevenson, Susan Kay Moravec
Jim Barksdale, Barry Bridgforth, Fred Carl, Bobby Chain, Charles Doty, Victor Mavar
Willis Corbett, Scott Dickenson, Robert Haul, Ronny Margason, Cathy Owens, Ron Muck, Gene Hall, R. Mellene Schudy, Nadine Thurman, Paul Nahon, Jerry Dowell
Thelma Baker, John Brenden, Errol Galt
|NEBRASKA FIRST DISTRICT||1||121,468|
|NEBRASKA SECOND DISTRICT||1||138,752|
|NEBRASKA THIRD DISTRICT||1||73,099|
D. Neal Smith
Patricia Dorwart, Norman Riffel
Maggie Carlton, Tahis Castro, Ruby Duncan, Ron Hibble, Theresa Navarro
Martha Fuller Clark, Gaeten DiGangi, Edgar 'Ned' Helms, Kathleen N. Sullivan
Jose Colon, William Fontanez, Gina Genovese, Wilma Grey, Kevin G. Halpern, Victor J. Herlinsky, Jr., Stacy Lubrecht, Salaheddin Mustafa, Peter D. Nichols, William W. Northgrave, Ken Saunders, Ginger Gold Schnitzer, Carl E. Styles, Shavonda Sumter, Stephen S. Weinstein
Brian S. Colon, Annadelle Sanchez, Tom Buckner, Christy French, Alvin Warren
Velda Jeffrey, June F. O'Neill, Dennis Mehiel, David Paterson, Andrew Cuomo, Thomas DiNapoli, Sheldon Silver, Malcolm Smith, Maria Luna, Robert Master, Pamela Green-Perkins, Helen D. Foster, Jon Cooper, Hakeem Jeffries, Richard Fife, Deborah A. Slott, Terrence Yang, George Arthur, George Gresham, Alan Van Capelle, Inez Dickens, Suzy Ballantyne, Alan Lubin, Bethaida Gonzàlez, Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson, Stuart Applebaum, Maritza Davila, Ivan Young, Barbara Fiala, Frank A. Bolz, III
Janice Cole, Louise Sewell, Virginia Tillett, Linda Gunter, Timothy Futrelle, Wayne Abraham, Armin J. Ancis, Wendy Wood, Michael Cognac, Dan W. DeHart, Harley Caldwell, Samuel Spencer IV, Patricia Hawkins, David Crawford, Kara Hollingsworth
Theresa Tokach, Susan Wefald, Cleo Thompson
Catherine Barret, Barbara Tuckerman, Wade Kapszukiewicz, Tamela Lee, Renee Cafaro, Victoria Wulsin, Craig Brown, Jimmy Cotner, Janet Carson, Bruce Johnson, Nannette Whaley, Martha Jane Brooks, Eugene Miller, Fran Alberty, Chris Redfern, John Kostyo, Kelly Gillis, Charleta Tavares, Michael Todd, Ted Strickland
Virginia Chrisco, Gail Stice, Pete Katzdorn, Robert Cleveland, Mary Phyllis Gorman, Bunny Chambers, Diane Murphy Gunther
Michael J. Bohan, Shirley A. Cairns, R.P. Joe Smith, John C. McColgan, Meredith Wood Smith, Frank James Dixon, Bernard Gorter
Lynne Abraham, Christopher Lewis, John S. Brenner, Valerie McDonald-Roberts, Eileen Connell, Thomas McMahon, Kathi Cozzone, Robert Mellow, John K. Fetterman, Michael A. Nutter, William George, Corey D. O'Brien, Patrick Gillespie, Joshua Shapiro, J. Richard Gray, Jack Wagner, Franco Harris, Michael J. Washo, George Hartwick, Wendell Young, IV, Daylin Leach
Maryellen Goodwin, Charlene Lima, John J. McConnell, Jr., Mark Weiner
Wayland Moody, Benny Kinlaw, Susan Aiken, Betty Sheppard Poe, Rebecca W. Delleney, Shelby M. Phillips, Katon E. Dawson, Patrick Bonner Haddon
Mike Rounds, Dennis Daugaard, Larry Long
Sara Sellers, Jim Haslam II, J. Wayne Cropp, Lisa Wheeler, Beth Campbell, Albert McCall, Shirley Curry, Marilucile Counce, Colin Richmond, Winfield Dunn, Chrystal Horne
Marcia Daughtrey, Virgil Vickery, Charlie O'Reilly, Brenda Zielke, Mary Darby, Melba McDow, Paul Pressler, James Wiggins, Deborah B. Cupples, Frank E. Alvarez II, Russ Duerstine, Zan Prince, Bruce Harris, Gordon Starkenburg, Sandra Cararas, Donene O'Dell, Larry Lovelace, Nelda Eppes, Kenneth Corbin, Gene Ryder, Robert E. Hierynomus, Terese Raia, Arturo Martinez de Vara, Thomas Ferguson, Robert K. Long, Pat Peale, Joel Yowell, Judith Hooge, Giovanna Searcy, Patricia Ann Van Winkle, Ronny Risinger, Frank Eikenburg, Genny Hensz, Talmadge Heflin
Scott Simpson, Richard Snelgrove, Stan Lockhart, Enid Greene Mickelesen, Mark Shurtleff
Claire D. Ayer, Euan Bear, Kevin B. Christie
Christia V. Rey, Sandra W. Brandt, Betty L. Squire, Susan Johnston Rowland, Marc L. Finney, Dorothy S. Blackwell, James Harold Allen Boyd, Marian A. Van Landingham, Robert Edgar Childress, Jr., Rolland D. Winter, Janet A. Carver, Michael Jon Khandelwal, Sophie Ann Salley
Jafar Siddiqui,, Maggie J. Hanson, Jane M. Buchanan?Banks, Pat M. Notter, Marcus Riccelli, Bradford L. Donovan, Lesley G. Ahmed, Di A. Irons, Calvin L. Edwards, Kristine F. Fallstone, John M. Daniels
Robert Fish, Zane Lawhorn, Catherine Sue McKinney, Mary (Marti) Riggall, Theresa A. Waxman
Ray Rivera, Fred Risser, Rollie Hicks, Annette Polly Williams, Dian Palmer, Gordon Hintz, Christine Bremer-Muggli, Donsia Strong Hill, Jim Doyle, Joe Wineke
Rosa L. Goolsby, Ron Micheli, Susan Thomas
|TOTAL POPULAR VOTE||538||69,297,997
11:00pm ET - The blog has begun! Starting around 6pm ET on Tuesday night I will be right here live for the night watching the coverage with you, commenting on the results, and answering your questions! We'll also be coloring in the 2008 map as we go! For now I'm going to pop in here every once in a while to keep you up to date on what's going on. The final and official projection of President Elect will be made tomorrow afternoon. I'm also working on a few last minute articles, including the quadrennial "What Happens If There Is A Tie" piece.
The form above will send your comments and questions directly to me. From here until after election day I may not be able to get back to you as quickly as usual. The most common and interesting questions I'll respond to right here.
One last note. Check the FAQ! Literally, about 10-20 times a week I am asked "what happens if a candidate dies"! That question is answered here.
Thanks for visiting. I'm looking forward to interacting with you over the next few days!
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2008
9:25am ET - After getting the analysis exactly right in 2004, I'm feeling a little pressure to do it again this year!
9:42am ET - A lot of the close states are really tightening up even further!
10:49am ET - Very cool and succinct recap of this election season. (NSFW URL?)
10:55am ET - Someone thinks my previous analysis may be "lowballing Obama in Montana, North Dakota and Missouri". The final analysis coming out today will probably have them all pink -- as in leaning McCain. But I don't think there is much doubt that he'll win the first two.
Cool fact about Missouri - the state has voted for the eventual winner in every election of the 20th and 21st centuries except for 1956.
11:34am ET - Be sure to check out Richard Winger's Ballot Access News. This is one of my very favorite election sites and has interesting news you won't find easily in the mainstream press.
12:23pm ET - While not something we'll probably need to worry about, here's an article about the procedures that would be followed if the candidates were to tie 269-269.
12:46pm ET - I'm stepping out for awhile to take care of some "RL" business! Analysis is all but done and should be up by 4pm at the latest. Keep those questions coming. I'll be answering throughout the day.
3:45pm ET - President Elect's official projection of the 2008 election is now online! President Elect projects that Senator Barrack Obama will defeat Senator John McCain 338-200. I'll be posting a few comments about the map as the evening wears on. Too many states for McCain? Not enough for Obama? Feel free to send your complaints using the form above! ;)
4:31pm ET - I want to mention this now so I don't forget it in all the hub-bub of the next 48 hours! Starting this month all the new electoral maps that I'm creating for elections will be made available for use under a Creative Commons license. What this means is that you'll be able to use the maps on your websites, school projects, and in other non-commercial ways without having to ask first. I'll put up more details about this after the election when I have more free time, but wanted to get the info out there while a large number of you are reading!
4:52pm ET - I've been asked in the past what I thought about some of the other election prediction sites. The truth is that during election years I completely avoid them! Most of them are partisan one way or the other so not something I'd probably read anyway. But the main reason is that I don't want to let them "contaminate" my prediction. I don't mean that with as much negative connotation as the word may indicate. I just mean I want my analysis to be free of any bias other than my own! But now that the final update is out there I'm curious what other sites are saying. Do you have other prediction sites you follow? Send the link to me above and I'll post some of them for us to look at!
6:05pm ET - Some other sites: www.electionprojection.com, 3bluedudes.com. That second site has a cool "Election Projection Database" with a big list of sites and their predictions. They seem to be missing one though... May have to email them about that! ;)
6:18pm ET - Reader question: "What effect do you think Obama's grandmother dying will have on the election? i.e. sympathy vote." Not much at this point, or at least not enough to change anything. For people who have waited this long to make a decision I doubt something like this will make the choice for them.
6:36pm ET - Notes on the final projection: Missouri and North Carolina were the toughest calls. Both are very tight. When I made the projection Obama had a slight lead in NC, but I decided the state's voting tendency outweighed the narrow numbers. Since then some polls are now showing McCain with just as slight a lead. Missouri has flipped back and forth between the candidates and is now a tie. Once again I went with the voting tendencies. Though the fact I mentioned earlier about Missouri almost always voting for the winner weighed on me as I'm picking Obama to win. Several other reliably "red" states are trending toward Obama in the final days, but not in numbers that will change their shade this year.
6:44pm ET - More misc. notes on the final projection: Obama's small lead in Ohio seems to be increasing. Obama's small lead in Florida seems to be decreasing, but probably not enough to hurt. If he has a really good night, every pink "leaning McCain" state east of the Mississippi River except for Georgia could very easily go to Obama. I love that each state that makes up the Four Corners is colored a different shade!
7:25pm ET - Reader question: "How many electoral votes would Puerto Rico have if they were a state?" For simplicities sake let's assume that adding that state doesn't effect too much the balance of the national population and that the make up of the 435-seat House is added to not just reallocated. With that in mind, Puerto Rico would be the 27th largest state by population, between Kentucky and Oregon. Therefore we can assume they would have 7 or 8 votes as those states do. (corrected!)
8:22pm ET - Reader question: "What happens if president elect dies prior taking office?" I hardly ever got this question in 2000 or 2004, but this year I am getting it 10-20 times per week! So I wrote up an article about it which you can read here: Death of a President (Elect).
8:24pm ET - Reader question: "What happens with the president elect starting Nov 5th until his swearing ceremony?" Officially, not much! In reality though this is the time when the new President-elect really gets down to business and his transition team goes into action. An example: there are a ton of government jobs to be filled -- from Secretary of State to unknown desk jockeys in nameless buildings around D.C. The outgoing president works with the his successor to ensure a smooth transfer of power.
9:20pm ET - Reader question: "Out of the seven lean McCain states, which do you think Obama has the best chance to win? And now let me ask that question in reverse. Of the five lean Obama states, which do you think McCain has the best chance to win? " Of McCain's states Obama is most likely to pick off Missouri and then North Carolina. Of Obama's states McCain is most likely to pick off Virginia and then Florida.
9:54pm ET - Reader question: "What is the least number of states that a candidate must win in order to become President?" Only 11 states are required to win the Electoral College vote: California (55 votes), Texas (34), New York (31), Florida (27), Illinois (21), Pennsylvania (21), Ohio (20), Michigan (17), Georgia (15), North Carolina (15), and New Jersey (13). Win those 11 and you have 271 votes -- one more than is required to win. I've been asked before if it is fair that only 11 states could choose the president. That logic forgets that a major component of what determines a states' number of electoral votes is population. Those 11 states account for 56% of the U.S. population, so therefore in a popular vote election they also could decide the presidency.
10:33pm ET - Working on a couple of other things I want to get up by tomorrow!
10:45pm ET - Reader question: "What happened to the computer analysis from 2004?" Oh yes! The computer analysis! I completely forgot to mention that! As some of you may remember in 2000 and 2004 I had a computer analysis. Basically what it was was a database of previous election results, current polls, and a formula I created. I decided to do it this year, but just one final analysis, not a month-to-month thing like I did before. Anyway, I looked all over for that program and could not find it! I assume it is on a back-up disc somewhere but have no idea where. Between this election and the last I moved to a different state so it could be in a box out in my garage for all I know! I may take one last look later tonight since it wouldn't be a big deal to update the data if I had the program. But I doubt I can find it tonight if I couldn't find it this past weekend.
11:59pm ET - Almost midnight. I'll be here for another hour or two working on a few last minute things for tomorrow. So you west coasters (or insomniac east coasters!) can feel free to keep sending in those questions and comments!
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2008
12:01am ET - It's officially election day!
1:39am ET - Here's where you can find a list of the electors for each candidate in your state -- assuming your state is one of the 21 that posted the information online: 2008 Electors
2:02am ET - Maybe one of the hardest questions to answer - "Why not do away with the Electoral College and use the popular vote?". Not only is it difficult to explain, it is difficult for some people to accept! As we head to the polls again today I'll take another stab at reaching the hearts and minds of the electorate on "Why the Electoral College is better for America than direct elections".
12:39pm ET - I'm back! And I'll be here non-stop (minus meals and bathroom breaks!) for the next 14 hours or so! I have some emails to get around to answering, so feel free to get your questions and comments in too using the form above!
1:12pm ET - Reader question: "What's the earliest time of day that the election can be decided based on poll closing times? Can the election be over before votes are in on the West Coast?" Assuming that (1) the state polls close on schedule, (2) the media immediately calls the state, and (3) the same candidate wins every state, then the earliest time someone could have enough votes to win is 8:30pm ET! At that point polls have closed in 25 states and DC representing 275 electoral votes.
12:50pm ET - Reader question: "Why did you use the colors opposite in the election maps from 1988 and previous elections, rather than the traditional color scheme that we see today?" I have a FAQ answer that will explain that in more depth. But the short answer is it has only been recently -- since 2000 -- that the "Red=Republican Blue=Democrat" colors have become standardized. As you can see, the 1980 NBC map on the right uses the same color scheme my older maps used to use. Every media outlet used to use their own colors, some even used yellow and white! My website and the older maps were created before these colors become the norm. But as you noticed, the newer maps I'm in the process of re-creating for every election have switched to the more recognized colors. Check the FAQ (under "Website FAQs" for a lot more info!)
1:45pm ET - Reader question: "If the president elect cannot be sworn in because of severe illness, who takes office?" Two options here, both with the same ending. If we assume that since the president-elect can not be sworn in that he has "failed to qualify", then according to the 20th Amendment "the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified". If we assume that the disabled president-elect becomes the president on January 20th even without being sworn in, then the 25th Amendment kicks in and after some paperwork, "the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President". The first option is probably the one that would apply, though not because not being sworn in is a disqualification necessarily. The disqualification would be a lack of consciousness!
2:27pm ET - Hopefully no one is dumb enough to fall for any emails circulating about waiting to vote tomorrow due to long lines. And hopefully people aren't dumb enough to continue forwarding them around.
3:42pm ET - Sorry for the absence. I was busy setting up the "President Elect Command Center" -- AKA my living room! I've set up two widescreen TV's side by side with PIP activated. The computer also has a TV tuner so I can talk to you guys and keep track of 5 networks at once tonight! There's a pic of the setup below for any of you electronics geeks like me!
4:10pm ET - Reader question: "Do you think the rush to declare a winner can, like the networks did in 2000, effectively decide the race?" Plausible in tight elections, but I think the networks are going to be more careful from now on. Hopefully they won't be as cautious as 2004 where they refused to announce Bush as the winner until Kerry conceded the next day! But they probably won't make any rushed calls. That's not to say if the whole map is blue or red except for the west coast that they might not project a winner before all the polls close. But in a race like 2000 I think they've probably learned their lessons!
4:18pm ET - Reader question: "Taking off from the question earlier: when is the earliest that in reality will this election get called?" I've heard some bloggers say the media will call it by 9pm. I don't think so. They are going to be careful and not want to appear to be rushing. My guess is 10:45 at the earliest so it will be in prime time, but more likely around midnight.
4:29pm ET - Followup to the last answer: Looking at my map and assuming I am correct in my predictions, Obama would only have 261 votes before the polls close in states bordering the Pacific. So if the networks don't call a state with polls still open (and my projection is correct) it will be 11pm or later before the election is called.
4:49pm ET - Just a heads up that exit polls, which are supposed to be in a media black-out until 5pm, may start leaking out soon. It's important to understand that exit polls are not a good reflector of how the election will turn out. Their main value is in understanding why people voted the way they did, not how they voted. Why? Because unlike other polling methods, exit polls don't try to get a cross-section of voters before they ask questions. And certain voters are more or less likely to be represented in the samples. That's fine for the purpose of looking for trends but not for making predictions. Rasmussen has a good article on the intricacies of all this.
5:05pm ET - Trivia: Only two sitting Senators have ever been elected President -- John Kennedy and Warren Harding. Worrying bit of news for both our Senator candidates? Both Kennedy and Harding died during their first terms!
5:25pm ET - Reader question: "If Obama's mother is white will he really be the first black president?" You're not going to get me into a race discussion! Technically I guess you could say Obama will be the 1st black president AND the 43rd white president! But from what I understand mixed race people sometimes identify more with one race or the other and sometimes they identify only as mixed race and not with either individual race. Obama seems to consider himself black. And that should be good enough for the rest of us!
5:32pm ET - Thanks to everyone sending in questions and comments! Keep them coming so I have something to talk about over the next 9 hours!
5:58pm ET - Quick dinner break but I'm still here!
6:36pm ET - Reader question: "A friend of mine told me that this is the first election where neither candidate is or has been either President or Vice president. Is this true? No, but it is the first time in a very long while. The last time was in 1952 when governor of Illinois Adlai Stevenson lost to General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
6:41pm ET - Polls are closed in parts of several states and votes are being counted!
7:01pm ET - Here we go!
7:09pm ET - As I did in 2004, we're not going to pretend that every state is up for grabs! If something unexpected happens I can recolor the map, but I doubt that will be necessary!
7:10pm ET - Send in those questions and comments -- and error reports if I make a mistake in my math or marking of the map!
7:12pm ET - Networks have it at McCain 8, Obama 3, with only Kentucky and Vermont called so far.
7:17pm ET - CNN may be taking these hi-tech graphics a little too far with their Star Trek like hologram.
7:24pm ET - Just to repeat for those latecomers... Reader question: "What happens if president elect dies prior taking office?" I hardly ever got this question in 2000 or 2004, but this year I am getting it 10-20 times per week! So I wrote up an article about it which you can read here: Death of a President (Elect).
7:31pm ET - Reader question: "What will be your standard for calling close states?" I won't be calling the close states. I'm letting the networks do that. I will only call a state if we're late into the night and it seems the networks are refusing to call it to avoid projectiong the election.
7:37pm ET - Another repeat: my article on "Why the Electoral College is better for America than direct elections".
7:41pm ET - Reader question: "I live in Idaho and the polls aren't even closed yet. How can you call it?" Unlike the networks which have to pretend that every state is up for grabs, we don't do that here on election nights! I color in the solid states before we start so we can see where things actually stand once the battleground states start coming in.
7:43pm ET - FOX has projected McCain wins WV. Other networks have not, but I think FOX probably has this early one right.
7:50pm ET - About 13 states' polls closing in 10 minutes!
7:59pm ET - Map fixed - move your mouse over it to see state and electoral vote info.
8:01pm ET - ABC calls PA for Obama. No one else has so we'll wait too.
8:02pm ET - NBC calls PA for Obama.
8:12pm ET - PA to Obama
8:12pm ET - WV to McCain
8:17pm ET - Reader question: "How do they calculate the electoral votes? Why 6 or why 21? My civics have left me." The number of electoral votes a state gets is equal to the number of Representatives and Senators it has in Congress. So every state gets two electoral votes, representing its two Senators. The remainder of votes are based on population, since that is how House members are allocated.
8:36pm ET - Reader question: "What state has always picked the correct President Elect for President?" As far as I know no state has done that. One of the best streaks that I know of is Missouri which has voted for the eventual winner in every election of the 20th and 21st centuries except for 1956.
8:44pm ET - GA to McCain (reload map is states aren't colored in after call)
8:47pm ET - Polls in 15 states are about to close at the top of the hour.
9:02pm ET - SD to McCain
9:05pm ET - NM to Obama
9:10pm ET - Reader question: It takes 270 electoral votes to win - that is more than half of the 538 total electoral votes.
9:13pm ET - Network Totals: CNN Obama 174-49; FOX Obama 163-81; ABC Obama 174-76; NBC Obama 175-76. I'm not watching CBS (turned off the computer TV tuner to save screen space!) so if someone wants to let me know their current total I'll add it in.
9:15pm ET - CBS Obama 174-100
9:30pm ET - OH to Obama
9:31pm ET - PRESIDENT ELECT PROJECTS BARACK OBAMA HAS WON THE PRESIDENCY
9:43pm ET - Reader question: "You have been right on the money all night long. Do you still have confidence in North Carolina and Virginia?" I have confidence that they will be just as close as I expected! ;)
9:45pm ET - YES, I spelled his name wrong! You'd think after talking about the guy for over a year my fingers would automatically type his name right by now! Fixing it...
9:49pm ET - Reload your page if the map colors are not updated.
10:00pm ET - Reader question: "Why is there a one electoral vote difference between CNN and MSNBC?" Apparently each network has called a state the other says is too close to call. And those two states have a one vote difference.
10:05pm ET - VA: Obama 1,272,986, McCain 1,271,575 (78.56% reporting)
10:10pm ET - NC: McCain 1,760,146, Obama 1,740,578 (63 of 100 counties reporting)
10:12pm ET - Thanks to a reader: The one vote difference is that CNN is not calling one of Maine's electoral votes.
10:13pm ET - Looks like they've picked that vote up now in Maine for Obama.
10:16pm ET - Thanks for all the kind words, guys! I appreciate it!
10:18pm ET - Reader question: "If Senators Obama and Biden are elected, what will happen to their Senate seats?" In almost every state (including Illinois and Deleware) the governor will appoint someone to fill the seat until a special election can be held.
10:39pm ET - Obama is leading in a Congressional district in Nebraska -- one of two states that allows its votes to be split.
10:42pm ET - FOX projects Obama wins VA
10:50pm ET - Reader question: "At this point when do you project the presidential race to be decided officially?" It's hard to say. They're being fairly conservative tonight, but not as conservative as I would have guessed. I think we all know California is going to Obama, so with the networks already giving him 207-220 votes as soon as they make the California call it should be all but over. Their polls close in 10 minutes.
10:53pm ET - Reader question: "How old do you have to be to be the president?" At least 35.
11:00pm ET - VA to Obama
11:01pm ET - FOX, NBC, CNN, ABC project Obama win
11:18pm ET - Reader question: "What states don't have "winner take all?" Maine and Nebraska
11:19pm ET - McCain concedes.
11:21pm ET - Reader question: "What is the highest number of electorial votes an elected president has received at the end of an election?" Ronald Reagan in 1984 with 525 votes.
11:26pm ET - AZ to McCain
11:26pm ET - CO to Obama
11:30pm ET - FL to Obama
11:34pm ET - NV to Obama
11:39pm ET - Just want to note before anything changes that the President Elect Official Projection is still 100% accurate! Four states to go and I have them all going to McCain. We'll know soon how close I'll end up!
11:43pm ET - McCain currently leads in NC, MO, and IN. MT is just starting their counts.
11:46pm ET - President-elect Obama to speak at midnight.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2008
12:38am ET - After watching the speech and taking a quick break, I'm back. Thanks to all of you who visited and/or wrote in! It's been fun! I'll be here for another hour or two if you have any more questions but other updates will be slow. And remember this is a site about elections in history so we're here in the three years between elections too. So if this was your first visit be sure to come back anytime!
1:15am ET - States in white are too close to call:
IN: McCain leads 848,740 - 761,422 (no idea of the percentage complete that is)
NC: Obama leads 2,106,312 - 2,094,219 (98 of 100 counties reporting)
MO: McCain leads 1,329,880 - 1,318,015 (no idea of the percentage complete that is)
MT: McCain leads 128,296 - 127,935 (503 of 861 precints reporting - 58%)
Networks aren't calling that last NE elector yet. There McCain leads 134,760 - 130,210 (no idea of the percentage complete that is)
1:48am ET - Just to repeat... Reader question: "What happens if president elect dies prior taking office?" I hardly ever got this question in 2000 or 2004, but this year I am getting it 10-20 times per week! So I wrote up an article about it which you can read here: Death of a President (Elect).
2:15am ET - I think I'm going to call it a night. Thanks again for all who visited! Congratulations to our new President and Vice President Elect! And remember -- there are only 1,462 days until President Elect 2012!
12:06pm ET - I'll leave this election day front page up until tomorrow. You can send questions using the form on the FAQ page or the contact address on the left. Here are some quick comments and answers to questions I received during the night.
• Not counting the three states still too close to call, the President Elect Projection is 100% accurate so far.
• This is not the site for President-elect Obama! Every election I've been online I get emails from people wanting to write to the winner. Try the official sites!
• Check the FAQ for more info on what hapens if a president-elect dies.
• Former presidents retain their title their whole lives -- and longer! So Bush will still be called President.
• The president on November 5th is Bush. He won't turn over the office to Obama until Janyary 20th.
• Only natural-born U.S. citizens can become president. Your British mom giving up her citizenship won't help you if you were also born in Great Britain.
• Check the FAQ for more info about my older map colors.
• The popular vote winner has not won the presidency four times. Check the FAQ for more info.
• The president and vice president have run as a team since 1804. Before then electors voted for two people for President. Whomever came in first won and the runner-up was VP.
• Election day 1956 was on November 6th.
• I assume you would address an envelope to him as "President-elect Barack Obama", or since he is still a sitting Senator, "The Honorable Barack Obama". The salutation of the letter I assume would be either "Dear President-elect Obama" or "Dear Senator Obama". I'm not much there I'm afraid!
• Black Americans voted almost exclusively Republican when they first received the franchise. Beginning in the 1930's they moved more towards exclusively Democratic voting.
• Obama is blue, McCain is red
1:11pm ET - Looks like Obama will barely take Indiana while McCain will do likewise in Missouri. North Carolina is still not being called, possibly because of absentee ballots.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2008
12:00am: Please check the FAQ before sending questions! Here are a few more answers.
• "When does Barack Obama officially take office? When does he officially become the President of the United States? When does he move into the White House?" -- He'll do all of the above on the same day, January 20th, 2009.
• "I was just curious if you had ever done an analysis after a presidential election of the results if Congressional District Method was used?" -- I have not but several people have. An example you can read on the FAQ page (see link on left sidebar) looks at how the 2000 election would have turned out. Perhaps counterintuitively, Bush would have gotten more votes than he did under the current system.
• "What happens if a Supreme Court Justice were to pass away during the transition period of a President-Elect? " -- From the FAQ page (see link on left sidebar) There is no law or Constitutional requirement that says the Chief Justice has to swear in the President. It is just a tradition, not a neccesity. The oath has been given by someone other than the Chief Justice 8 times, most recently in 1963 when Lyndon Johnson was given the oath by a local judge in Dallas aboard Air Force One after the assassination of John Kennedy.
• "What happens when a person becomes the President-Elect? Does a secret service cadre arrive in the middle of the night? Does the PE collect a Salary or get a budget for an office? Is the PE assigned a designate to the White House? Etc.." -- The major party candidates already have a Secret Service detail assigned to them well before the election. After the election that is increased for the winner. No salary, but there is a budget provided for the presidential transition team. The President-elect will also start receiving same national security briefings just like the President gets. The president and his staff will work with the new president to ensure a smooth transition.
• "What three presidents were elected by the Electoral Collage even though they had fewer popular votes than thier opponents?" -- OK, that one is almost word for word on the FAQ page! Check it out though the link on the left.
• "What is the reason for the president elect to wait until Jan. 20th to assume office?" -- I assume it is used to ensure a smooth transition. In the past it may have also been useful to account for slow travel time! Actually until the 20th Amendment was ratified in 1933, presidents had to wait until March 4th! Due to the unbearably long lame-duck period between November and March they finally decided to shorten that up a bit!
• "Doesn't Obama only become President-elect after the Electoral College votes?" -- Yes, that is technically true. Until then he could be more accurately called the President-designate. However, the long-time and widespread usage of President-elect for the winner on election day is too ingrained in the public's mind to worry about changing at this point.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2008
3:06pm: BEFORE EMAILING, PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING:
• This site has no affiliation with Barack Obama! It is a historical reference about presidential elections. I can not contact or forward messages to the President-elect! Check out the official transition website for information on how to contact him.
• Please read the Frequently Asked Questions page before sending questions! 75% of all questions I get are answered there!
• Please check the blog below before sending questions! 10% of the questions I'm getting now that aren't answered in the FAQ have been answered there during the past few days (and will be added to the FAQ soon)!
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2008
10:47am: Nebraska may be splitting their electoral votes for the first time this year. Just to make sure, I'll wait a bit to make sure it sticks before updating the map.
2:35pm: From recent emails:
• "Your 2008 electoral map is wrong. Barack Obama won one electoral vote in Nebraska in the Omaha region..."
• "Dear Mr. Obama..."
• "What happens if the President Elect dies..."
-- Guys please read the site before bombarding me with email! As I said before:
• As I mentioned below I know about Nebraska and will update soon if it stays official. The 2008 page clearly says the numbers aren't official and will change as needed. This site isn't my job, its a hobby. So I'm not going to worry about jumping on every little tidbit as fast as the media who get paid for what they do.
• I am not Barack Obama! Please check one of the official sites like www.change.gov.
• READ THE FAQ!
Sorry to be so curt, but I'm getting a ton of email and it seems most of it is from people not taking the time to read what I've already written!
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